17 May 2007

Men have issues too

The marvellous spitting mad blog directed me to this article about how men feel pain too (link in title). Now I have nothing against male pain; I think a major part of the problem with our patriarchal society is that it forces both men and women into certain roles, and while women have traditionally been the weaker party, it's not necessarily any more fulfilling for a man to be forced into the position of having to earn more money, be 'strong', be aggressive, etc. But this guy should really have chosen his words a bit more carefully.

The male-grooming market - what we spend to offset our physical insecurity - was, if you can believe this, worth £685 million in 2004. And according to Mintel, the market analysts, we will be spending £821 million in 2009. That's £136 million of added insecurity. As well as worrying about the closeness of our shave, the look and colour of our hair, and how we smell, we will also be paranoid about the fact that our complexions are not flawless.

Welcome to my world. How long do you think it will be before the naked and impossibly perfect male body becomes the standard image used to sell everything from petrol to hosiery? Because boy, can you look forward to some insecurity then.

We are hard-wired to be aggressive, competitive, crazy for status and sex.

Are you? Or is it just that society expects you to be competitive, aggressive, etc? I suspect the latter. And if so, you'll have to struggle against it, won't you, just like women had to fight not to be seen as submissive and brainless. No one said it was going to be easy. Perhaps you could start by questioning what's 'hard-wired' into you and what's just a social construct?

And, as he points out, just because women feel powerless doesn't mean that men don't also feel powerless.

Oh, right. I thought only one sex had the monopoly on feeling powerless. Silly me.

a lot of guys are feeling threatened by women in the workplace, 'because the women are as outgoing, as confident, as the guys'.

Not more confident. Not aggressive, or overbearing, or domineering. Not committing sexual harassment, or putting others down. Just as confident as these poor men! That's terrible. Hang on a sec...

At its most basic, your identity as a man comes down to two things. You are a sperm factory, and a sperm-shooting machine.

Your identity is what you make it, mate.

So anyway, he then goes on to talk to a vacuous woman who tells him they are going to breed out all those terrible 'male genes' - I only got biology GCSE but I didn't realise genes had a gender - and a male friend of his who reassures him that it's only the 'alpha-male types' who will be eliminated in this bright female future. Then we have a bit more biological determinism crap from a guy who may or may not be related to Ali G, some misrepresentation of Susan Faludi's book Stiffed and then a bit of self-pitying mea culpa keening and wailing.

Can't this guy just go out into the woods with his buddies and beat drums naked or something? Do I have to read this rubbish in what claims to be a quality newspaper?

Oh and then the tosser who used to edit Loaded wonders how he can get sex and companionship without entering into a proper relationship. I have no idea what this person thinks of as a proper relationship but he sounds insane.


Spitting Mad said...


The thing that really bugged us about this article - indeed this whole issue of OWM was awful for this - was that it was blatantly the author and a group of his friends - all age 24-39, all from London, all rich, working in media or the music industry, white, straight and able-bodied. And believe it or not, it turns out they all feel similarly! Wow, they obviously speak for the whole of the male gender then!

Grrrrr. Thanks for the link! Keep on spitting...

woodscolt said...

Don't get me started on the class aspect of the OWM. Gah.